‘Force of character, determination or nerve’ is the dictionary description but does the movie live up to its title as it tackles a new generation’s frustration with outdated patriarchal behaviour?
Directed by Amy Poehler, this fresh look at teen high school drama sits well within the modern trends. Vivian is heading towards the end of her time at school and is clearly starting to see a bigger picture. This is in part inspired by her mother (Amy Poehler), and her past rock and roll rebellion for the feminist cause. Starting a zine to highlight and right some wrongs, she has no idea how far things might go.
Moxie does have exactly what it says on the tin, and it has it in spades. It is always immensely satisfying watching characters break frustrating conventions we have experienced in our own lives. Alycia Pascual-Peña plays Lucy, a new addition to the school who has very little time for the outdated behaviour around her. The way she returns fire immediately and does not stand down is perhaps the most satisfying element of the film. These encounters create a space for allies and a signature strength to draw from. Again it does feel a touch odd in context that it is not Lucy that becomes the protagonist and leader, the message is clear however that anyone can carry the torch and make change if the will is there.
The choice of characters and their intersectional encounters with feminism is often quite provoking, especially for what on the face of it seems like quite a straightforward teen drama. For example, dealing with old matriarchal influences who appear to be at odds with modern progression and first-generation immigrant families who are much less inclined to rock the boat. The only time I felt something didn’t quite hit the mark was a dinner table exchange with Vivian and her mother. While teenage angst and pressure always needs an outlet something about the scene didn’t land as well and I struggled to put a finger on it. The closest I got was perhaps the positive relationship and female leadership her mother displays throughout makes the outburst seem out of character.
The emotional charge and wish for goodwill and progress is carried throughout the plot. There are plenty of moments to cheer and many that will curl your lip in distaste. The film picks a good cross section of societies’ outdated behaviours that range from blind spots, lack of education and the outright criminal – all are put under the magnifying glass. Personally, I am a sucker for the plots with a rise to victory of the downtrodden. Willing the characters on gives a great deal of satisfaction. It is tempered by the reality of these scenes for millions across the globe every day, usually without quite such a picture-perfect finish. If this film inspires people to consider their actions, to act on injustices or become an ally to those in need then I believe it will have achieved all it set out to do.
Author: Joe, Bath store